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The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 4,746 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 25 critic

Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing.

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(book), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Bud Gurney
Patricia Smith ...
Mirror Girl
Bartlett Robinson ...
Benjamin Frank Mahoney, President Ryan Airlines Co.
Marc Connelly ...
Father Hussman
Arthur Space ...
Donald Hall, Chief Engineer Ryan Airlines
Charles Watts ...
O.W. Schultz, Salesman Atlas Suspender Co.
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Storyline

Biography of Charles Lindburgh from his days of precarious mail runs in aviation's infancy to his design of a small transatlantic plane and the vicissitudes of its takeoff and epochal flight from New York to Paris in 1927. Written by Paul Emmons <pemmons@wcupa.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This was the era that belonged to young people - but mostly it belonged to a shy, lanky guy... The screen has never come so close to the heart of a man! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'odyssée de Charles Lindbergh  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)|

Color:

(WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Stewart, who was portraying Charles Lindbergh at the age of 25, was 47 when the film was made. See more »

Goofs

When Lindbergh is in the New York City office of the President of Columbia Aircraft Co.to inquire about the purchase of a Bellanca, the view out the window shows the western portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, making the skyline that of San Francisco, not N.Y.C. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Reporter: [checking his copy] Here at the Garden City Hotel, less than a mile from Roosevelt Field... less than three-quarters of a mile from Roosevelt Field... everyone is waiting, as they have been now for seven days and nights, waiting for the rain to stop...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Wyatt Earp: Walk with a Legend (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(uncredited)
Music by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Arranged by Franz Waxman
Played briefly during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the most exhilarating adventure stories ever filmed
3 December 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Every year there's one can't-miss much-anticipated red-hot big-budget title with the right combination of star, director and subject matter that fails miserably at the box-office. This year it was Superman Returns. In 1982 it was Blade Runner. In 1957 it was Billy Wilder's The Spirit of St Louis, a film that had everything - top director, huge star, best-selling true story about an American hero - except enough of an audience to cover its costs. Maybe the public still remembered Lucky Lindy's anti-Semitism and his loud admiration for Nazi Germany's achievements before the war (neither covered in the film, which ends with his arrival in Paris before the legend got too tarnished). Maybe because they thought they knew the story or that it was just going to be one guy stuck in a cockpit for two hours. Certainly Wilder and co-writer Wendell Mayes are aware of the dramatic pitfalls of Lindbergh's relatively uneventful flight, alternating between a well-executed flashback structure to key points in his life and the build-up to the flight itself. Once the film is airborne, it's both surprising and suspenseful, finding genuine drama in his attempts to stay awake and to navigate without proper instruments.

It also builds up a quite remarkable sense of dread that's unlike anything else in Wilder's filmography, allied to a real sense of the epic: shots like the ominous storm clouds over the hanger the dark dawn before the flight carry a real chill of foreboding to them. Even the typically muted and problematic WarnerColor adds to the film rather than detracts from it. Along with the superb use of CinemaScope, there's a remarkable score from Franz Waxman: majestic, soaring but filled with understated menace, and cleverly used as part of the fabric of the film rather than mere musical accompaniment. The film does lose points for implying, though never actually saying outright, that this was a race to be the first to fly the Atlantic - in fact, Lindbergh was the third man to fly across the Atlantic after almost completely forgotten Brits Alcock and Brown's astonishing flight eight years earlier - but it's still a remarkably tense and engrossing adventure story that deserved the success it never found.


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